timing and dwell question


5 Year Member
Nov 21, 2003
Texas, USA
Sunday I put a dwell meter on the car as she hadnt been running too good. I set the dwell to 29 and the engine runs better. However my dilemma is after I took it for a drive, I pulled up into the driveway, shut the engine off, and when I tried to restart, there was a very slow crank, like the timing was too far advanced. So do I set the timing first, and then adjust the dwell?

P.S. Original 302 4bbl motor in car. She has a warmed over cam, not sure of duration or brand. How does that affect my timing setting, if at all? Factory timing is supposed to be 6 btdc, she runs like crap at that setting.

PPS Not intersted in switching to electronic, keeping her stock.
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I noticed a huge difference in performance after I set the dwell, its just that it had a slow turnover when i tried to start her up again, that made me wonder about the timing and what to set first. I havent owned a car with points since 1979 when i had my 67 Stang coupe, so my memory is a bit rusty.
As you change the dwell, the timing will also change. You have to set the Dwell first , then the Timing.

Think of it this way. As you open the points, they will break contact later which in turn will retard the timing. As you close the points they will open sooner which will advance the timing.

The Dwell is simly the POINT GAP. Once it is set the only thing that will change it is a loose bushing in the distributor.
You gotta do dwell first. It's really the rotational degrees that the points are CLOSED - when current is flowing through the coil. More dwell equals more coil saturation time. More dwell equals closer (less) point gap. More dwell is better for high RPM operation. The spark occurs when the points open. The dwell will change as the points rub block wears - always lube the rub block on points install.